Is it Possible to Test Asbestos Accurately in Your Home?
Although asbestos is a banned building material, many old homes still have it in building materials such as tiles, paint, shingles, insulation and the likes. Unfortunately, this material is very dangerous and people exposed to it are at risk of developing health issues such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer and the like. If asbestos is suspected to be present in a given building material, it is recommended that you leave it alone as it becomes dangerous when the fibres become loose and thus are inhaled.
If you want to remodel an older home, it is advisable to test for asbestos, particularly if it is suspected to be part of the structure. All in all, environmental protection agencies in all countries these days recommend that any area suspected to have asbestos be treated with caution.
Should you test for asbestos yourself?
Unless you have the right knowhow, testing of asbestos is a task that is best left to the experts. The hired asbestos testing expert should be a well-trained and accredited individual. This person ensures that the tests are carried out as safely as possible without risking those around him or her, particularly the homeowner. A knowledgeable homeowner can take a few samples and send them away to the right testing facility that is EPA approved.
How is an asbestos test carried out?
The main thing to remember where asbestos fibres are concerned is that they are hazardous to your health and thus precaution has to be taken when handling them so as to ensure that as few of them are released into the air as possible. Prior to asbestos sampling, it is recommended that you look into the state and local requirements for cleaning and disposing it. Following these rules is vital to assure the safety of all during the sampling taking. Here are the asbestos testing recommendations according to one testing expert.
- Wear disposable mask and gloves when handling materials suspected of containing asbestos.
- Only one person, in this case the hired inspector, should perform the testing to minimize contamination. Other home inhabitants should not be present when the task is being carried out.
- The heating and cooling systems in a home should be turned off when the task is being carried out so that released fibres don’t blow around the place.
- Only a small sample should be taken so that as few asbestos fibres are released into the air as possible. The fewer are disturbed, the safer it is for everybody concerned.
- Spray a mist of water and detergent on the target area to prevent fibres from blowing around.
- A sharp knife should be used to cut the sample, working carefully not to disturb the fibres so as to prevent them from being blown around. The cut sample should be placed into an air tight container and sent over to an appropriate lab for testing.
- The target area should be thoroughly cleaned with things such as paper towels and then the towels disposed of correctly according to the local asbestos regulations.
- Patch the created hole with duct tape to prevent further disturbance of the fibres.
- The container with the sample should be labeled appropriately with details such as the date and location clearly showing and sent over to the right EPA testing laboratory.